While I’m always willing to talk about how adaptable the 4-3 Over Front is, there is always going to be a need for change-up fronts. The 4-3 Under Defense is the perfect compliment for this defense. It is easily teachable, fits all that your Defensive Linemen have learned, and simplifies things for two of your linebackers. Only one player, the Sam Linebacker in our scheme, must learn a new skill set.
Coach Jerry Gordon has recently published a book on Coaching the Under Front Defense that is available now.
Sam Linebacker in the 43 Under
Because of what I will ask the Will Linebacker to do in our Goal Line defense, both outside linebackers will learn the skills of the Sam Linebacker in the 4-3 Under front. He will be walked up on the line whenever a Tight End is present, playing in a 9-technique. Because of the design of the Quarters Coverage behind him, the Sam Linebacker will be able to play with a hard charging style, attacking the outside shoulder of the Tight End. He is blowing up kick-out blocks just like the 9-technique Defensive End does in the 4-3 Over.
The Sam Linebacker must learn the block down-step down rule that is crucial to the Defensive End. This rule means that if the Tight End releases inside, the Sam Linebacker is crashing hard down the line and wrong-arming anything. He remains a spill player, responsible for forcing plays outside to the Strong Safety who has box responsibility. It will often take the Sam Linebacker some time to learn how aggressive he really needs to be with this play, but when he does it is a thing of beauty.
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